A patient advocate can often help you get your emergency room bill lowered

Can't Afford Emergency Room Bill: Make It Personal

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Make it Personal

Many hospitals have a "patient advocate" or ombudsman. A personal visit to that individual might be a good place to start. These folks know the ins and outs of hospital finance and they have a good handle on community resources. They know what adjustments the hospital can or cannot make. If possible, avoid using the phone for your first contact with any one person. If you can actually visit the person you're asking for help paying the emergency room bill, it puts a face to the problem, and it's human nature to respond stronger to someone you see than a voice on the phone.

The nonprofit agency American Cancer Society provides referrals to advocates and agencies in your area. Ask if they charge a fee or a percentage of the debt reduction, or if their services are free. Another nonprofit is the Patient Advocate Foundation. They work with the hospital's billing department to get the bills reduced or forgiven when you can't afford the emergency room bill.

It is important to have support, because you should be concentrating on recovery, not fighting with bill collectors or worrying about bankruptcy.

Next: Know What You are Paying For

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